Summer is here! Which means reviews will be few and far between for a few weeks – a lot of you probably received extensive reading lists from schools, and don’t need me to offer my thoughts at just this moment. Still, there are so many wonderful new titles appearing now, (such as Inside This Book by Barney Saltzberg and published by Abrams) and I’ll be sure to share them with you, but in a more abbreviated format. In the meantime, have a wonderful, restful break, and we’ll all regroup soon, slightly freckled perhaps, but ready to tackle the bounty of fall’s wonderful book offerings with renewed vigor.
Lullaby & Kisses Sweet: Poems to Love with Your Baby, by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Alyssa Nassner; Abrams Appleseed, $15.95, 44 pages, ages 0-3.
Babies love being read to, and they will adore listening to this lyrical collection of original poetry curated by poet Lee Bennett Hopkins. The anthology’s thirty selections are divided into five topics, ranging from food to bedtime. Parents will notice some A-list authors among the group, including Marilyn Singer, (the Tallulah series) Jane Yolen (How Do Dinosaurs….? series) and J. Patrick Lewis (World Rat Day: Poems About Holidays You’ve Never Heard Of.). The sturdy, casebound board book is perfect for exploring little hands, and artist Alyssa Nassner’s bright and engaging illustrations make this a delightful introduction to all the sensory joys of poetry.
Wish, by Matthew Cordell; Disney-Hyperion, $16.99, 48 pages, ages 3-6.
Sometimes parents wait a long time before children come along. They plan, live, cope with disappointment, until one day their wish comes true. Matthew Cordell’s charming elephant couple explores what it means to begin a family, and how adults deal with unexpected challenges. “We listen…. And we wait… but you never come. And everything stops.” will no doubt resonate with some families more than others. One day, while the patient pachyderms stroll along the beach, a crack of lightning splits the ocean apart, and a baby arrives on a small sailboat. There’s nothing preachy or overly saccharine here – Wish is a wonderful, simple and totally heartfelt way for parents to remind their children how much they are loved.
“Kel Gilligan’s Daredevil Stunt Show,” by Michael Buckley, illustrated by Dan Santat; Abrams Books for Young Readers, $16.95, 40 pages, ages 4-6.
This totally awesome tale of daredevil Kel Gilligan will amaze and astound preschool readers. Follow Kel’s daring exploits as he attempts such feats as eating broccoli, facing “The Potty of Doom,” and not interrupting his mother’s telephone conversation. Each death-defying exploit is witnessed by an awestruck group of what appears to be Kel’s adult family members. Illustrator Dan Santat (“Tom’s Tweet;” see our review here) employs Adobe Photoshop with “100% fearlessness” to create a bold and eye-popping place. Kel’s red tricycle and white striped jumpsuit, complete with matching helmet, cape and gloves recall the glory days of real-life showman and motorcycle stuntman Evel Knevel. Readers will enjoy pointing out that these ‘extraordinary’ stunts are in fact quite similar to activities they do every day.